Babies are constantly on my mind. My own baby is, admittedly, not a baby anymore. He is so independent and smart. So tough and stubborn. There is no more swaddling. No soft baby cries. No rocking to sleep. Thank goodness for his chubby, pinchable legs. His baby-scented hair. For those moments when he runs to my leg crying for "mama" and wants "up." These are little consolation prizes for the impending loss of babyhood.
A mother's heart can only take so much.
So many hours of my day are filled with love. I am constantly reminding myself of how blessed I am. When I hold my two boys in my lap, I feel like I am holding the entire world. I am acutely aware of how much I have been given. And yet....And yet.....there is still more longing.
When I see a van-full of children. When I see a haggard mommy rounding up a brood of four in the grocery store (how she ever gets out of the house is a mystery to me!). When I see a pew of freshly groomed children of varying sizes at our church. I want that. Too many blessings to count. Not just for their number, but for the fact that they never stay still long enough. I don't know what it is. I don't know how to explain it. I love large-ish families the way I love the color green. It's defies explanation.
Everyone has their own definition of "large" family. I look at a family of six and think, that's the PERFECT size where others likely see that as "large." Don't get me wrong, I don't have any desire to be the next Duggar family or Octomom. But I do yearn for a third baby...and fourth.
There are practical reasons to have four kids. One is about hedging your bets. You know, in case one goes to prison, one gets injured, and one becomes a druggy, chances are you will still have one good one left. The other reason is retirement security - more kids to help pay for your retirement home and care for you. But I also have this crazy fear of growing both old AND lonely. All the grandmothers in my family have outlived their husbands. My next-door neighbor (who lost her one and only son years and years ago), just lost her husband. The fear of having no one, of spending my last days and weeks and years alone....I can't bear it. I figure more kids will decrease the odds of that happening.
Then there is the pure and simple fact that kids are awesome. So, more kids = more awesome. I figure this must be true at least until you hit four kids. I'm sure at some point the amount of awesomeness stops exceeding the extra work and money. But then, I imagine somewhere after your tenth or fifteenth kid, you might as well keep going. Economies of scale...and all that.
Two other reasons:
So, the baby fever has hit me again. It waxes and wanes. Some days it is so unbearable and others, I am content to just see if this is a wave I can ride out. But every time someone close to me announces a pregnancy, or baby shower, or baby birth, it's not just a wave. It's a full blown tsunami. All of my senses and logic are washed away when I think of the fact that OTHER PEOPLE are having babies and I am not.
But even at the height of my desire for another baby, my dreams come into contact with practicality and are instantly deflated. First roadblock: the husband. He says no more. When he says, "no more," he makes it quite clear that what he really means is, "Hell no! Not a chance. We already have too many!" This makes me sad.
Second roadblock: space. I already have two kids sharing a room. Four people in a 950 square foot house (with just one bathroom, I might add) is "pushing" it, at best. There is no way we could fit another person in here. The baby would sleep in my dresser drawer until he turned 18. We have plans to remodel and add a third bedroom and second bathroom. We could totally make it work after that. But this will probably not happen for many, many years.
Third roadblock: my body doesn't work. It was so hard to get pregnant with Ryan. The reasons for that have not changed. I will likely need to go through more fertility treatments of some kind. The emotional turmoil is so, so hard.
Lastly, despite how badly I want another baby, I keep remembering how horrible both pregnancy and my planned c-section were. I hate being pregnant- every second. And I mistakenly just read my post about Ryan's birth story. I wish I hadn't done that. I remembered the emotion roller coaster, the fear, the pain, and that I lost so much blood during my c-section that my doctor wanted me to have a blood transfusion. I had sworn to myself "no more babies!" I really want a baby. But I don't want to do that again!
But I'm not ready to be done. There is a perfect, baby-sized void in my heart. There is more love for me to give. I feel really stuck. I don't know what to do or what I even can do. In the meantime, I will suffer through baby fever....sadly and silently.